Graveyard Flooding on the Agenda for Killarney MD Meeting

Kilbanivane under flooding again during the October heavy rain and storm. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Kilbanivane under flooding again during the October heavy rain and storm. ©Photograph: John Reidy

There are people in Castleisland keeping a hawk like watch on this Wednesday’s meeting of councillors and officials of Killarney Municipal District in Rathmore.

There are many motions and questions down for discussion but only two matter to the watchers here.

Motions number 13 and 20 have been lodged by Cllr. Bobby O’Connell and numbers 34 and 36 by Cllr. John Joe Culloty.

13. Cllr. B. O’Connell: That Kerry County Council take measures to prevent

Kilbanivane Graveyard flooding by carrying out remedial works on the Gleannsharoon River.

20. Cllr. B. O’Connell: That Kerry County Council clean out the drain from Horan’s Bridge to the Cross at Tullig, Castleisland.

Maher's field across the road from Kilbanivane Cemetery during the floods in October. ©Photograph: john Reidy
Maher’s field across the road from Kilbanivane Cemetery during the floods in October. ©Photograph: john Reidy

34. Cllr. J.J. Culloty: That this Council, with the consent of the landowner, raise the ground along a short section of the river at Glounsharoon, which would ensure that the river does not flood the surrounding area.

36. Cllr. J.J. Culloty: To call on this Council to clear the silt from the eye of the bridge at Barrack Street, Castleisland, and also to clear the eye of the footbridge at the rear of An Ríocht running track.

Wheels of the World

When Con Houlihan wrote the script for Wheels of the World away back in the early 1980s, he recalled a rural way of living which was slipping away ‘over the cliff of silence’ – as he put it.

It’s gone for good now – or bad – as the case may be.

In that same documentary Con told his viewers how he and his father and their equals treated the land on which they lived and very much depended upon.

“Here in the south west is a land that for generations was tended with an infinity of energy and skill by a people to whom every field and tree and rock and stream had its own being. A people who knew the land because they wooed it intimately with hand labour, with a spade and a fork, and the reaping hook, and the scythe. A world that except in fragments has gone unchronicled and unmirrored. That has fallen over the cliff of silence.”

Drainage of Dykes and Streams

Enhancement of that eloquence was delivered in equal measure by the sublime narration of the late Eamonn Keane of Listowel.

As well as the tillage of the land, which Con so earthily described, drainage of dykes and streams was also a vital part of the husbandry of the countryside.

As flooding in the Castleisland area made one of its frequent visits again in recent months, people in the line of danger here have been looking closer at those dykes and streams in their localities.

Even a cursory glance returns a verdict of appalling negligence and leads to the conclusion that it’s no wonder these places are flooding on a regular basis. And they’re likely to suffer again unless action is taken.

Bridges Blocked or Broken

The eyes of picturesque little bridges are blocked or broken down. The beds of the streams they serve are deeply silted and weed choked. The banks of the streams themselves are totally overgrown.

Look at the whole Kilbanivane Cemetery flooding issue. It’s one that has been dragging on for years now and it hits with a vengeance when there’s prolonged, heavy rain.

The dip in College Road gets flooded and you can bet what you have that the relatives of those buried in Kilbanivane will be in for a few days of distress at the scenes there.

Just over twelve months ago, Kerry County Council came up with a plan to alleviate the flooding of the graveyard.

On paper it looked to be just the job and the end of the suffering for the families of the departed.

Anglore Stream in Churchtown

The council proposed to run a pipeline from the outer corner of the cemetery wall and away eastwards a few hundred yards to drain into the Anglore Stream in Churchtown.

The stream would, it proposed, take the Kilbanivane overflow down the fields by Glebe Lodge, across under the Brosna Road and down to Tullig. It would flow through the embattled culvert under the Cordal Road at Tullig and into the nearby River Maine.

It sounded great. It was deemed the best idea yet. A foolproof plan. Not so! – according to local knowledge and residents all the way from start to finish from source to confluence.

Alarmed residents, along the route of the proposed pipeline, are, they claim, addled enough with the threat of additional flooding in both the Churchtown and Tullig areas.

They have photographs to back up their objections to the route of the said pipeline.

Swamped the Road

These show recent flooding during which the Anglore Stream swamped the road there with up to a foot of water in places. It was deep enough to halt several cars as the drivers tried to get through.

And only drastic and rapidly applied measures kept it from flooding houses in the neighbourhood.

Their joint prediciment has brought residents from the Churchtown, Kilbanivane and Tullig areas together and they held a meeting recently at Castleisland Community Centre.

Now their sleeves are folded up in earnest and they’ve also set up a Facebook page and are out chronicling each rise in water levels in the danger areas.

The residents say that they too are appalled at the flooding of the graveyard but that bringing all this excess water to their embattled little stream will only widen the problem.

A Natural Remedy

As they point to a natural remedy in the nearby Glounsharoon River area they see no merit at all in the Kerry County Council proposals.

However, Kerry County Council Senior Engineer, Paul Neary said that the council is in consultation with the OPW on the funding for the scheme to alleviate flooding at Kilbanivane Cemetery and the surrounding areas.

“We gave a committment to the residents that no work would be carried out in the area before we consult with them and that still stands,” said Mr. Neary.

…….To be continued.


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